Carpal tunnel syndrome
was a fashion word couple of years back as it used to affect mostly women at work in home, but gradually people are realizing its affects the harder way due to repetitive work environment in IT industry. More and more work hours on computer or even casual web surfing can land your wrists and hand in trouble. It may not be as dangerous as carpal tunnel, but it would definitely give you long, irritating pain on your wrist or forearm.
I, myself was a victim of the same until few months back due to continuous web surfing and ignorance of right postures. It was after a long ride on bike on a chilly winter night, I realized an unbearable pain on my right wrist. Reacting quick enough, I realized that the real culprit is not the cold weather, but the repetitive use of mouse during my endless hours of blogging and web surfing. Now that I know the problem, I tried various remedies for the same. Few worked, few didn’t. Here am going to share with you few of those tricks which worked. I would love to know more of them from you. See you in comments.
1. Use more of keyboard shortcuts and less of mouse clicks
Though people might argue that keyboard taps are equally dangerous as mouse clicks in causing harm to wrist and fingers, I disagree with this due to my own experience. Keyboard taps are much more gentle when compared to each mouse click and scrolls you make. In a keyboard tap, the whole palm or hand is involved in the action which spreads the overall effect of the typing. But while clicking mouse only one finger is being constantly used and this repetitive action causes the trouble.
Switching to keyboard shortcuts is an easy way to overcome this. In the beginning you might find it a bit difficult, but gradually you will get used to it. You just need a little bit of patience and practice. Earlier all my ‘stumbleupon’ used to be through mouse clicks, which I changed to a simple keyboard shortcut and believe me that small change made a big difference in alleviating my pain on the wrist.
2. Use alternate hands for typing and for using mouse
This was a result of my experimentation to reduce the pain caused by repetitive action. As am a right hander, I was used to clicking with the same hand. Unbearable pain compelled me to shift to left hand and that itself made the task easier. Clicking with left hand for a right hander is not at all difficult. You don’t even need any practice for the same. (Donot act smart by changing the right key/left combination in the mouse options, its not necessary). Though this option would give you a temporary relief, it is not going to be a long lasting one. Slowly your left hand also would develop the same pain which you got on the right hand. In that case, use this in combination with other techniques mentioned in this post.
3. Use Mouse pads with Gel
This is an option which worked for me. Wrist needs a resting space and the gel which conforms its shape according to the posture would let you give this support. You would suddenly feel much more ease in using the mouse. You can either place your wrist on the gel pad or the palm on it. Either ways it would ease the stress and strain caused on the wrist.
4. Make sure your wrist/hand is supported by a semi-hard surface
Never let your hands be in air while typing or using mouse. Leaving them in air puts extra pressure on the hands to support them with a surface. So always keep them on a surface like table or the handle of chair. By this subtle action, see how much relief you get out of it. This would also allow free flow of blood till the fingers and back. Keeping hands in upside position for long would make your palm go pale due to non-availability of blood.
5. Open and close your palm in intervals
Perhaps one of the most important tips which is suggested for this problem. Along with causing strain on the wrist, the repetitive action also causes a much bigger problem which is the non-circulation of blood till the fingers. If you notice your hands after a long web surfing exercise without a break, you can see that the palms are all pale and white. This is because the upside posture coupled with long repetitive actions restricts the blood to flow freely to the fingertips. To avoid this just open and close your palms in different intervals. Apart from initiating free blood flow, it would also help stretching your hand and fingers.
Even after doing all this techniques, still if you think you are in trouble then consult a medic immediately or else wait for the technologies like “voice recoginition”, “dontclick
“, “touch screen” to mature so that you totally avoid using mouse or keyboard on a physical surface. Also using a laptop keyboard and touchpad is less stressful than using the desktop keyboard and mouse. So there is hope for them too.
Share your ideas in the comments section on How to reduce the stress and chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.